One thought on “Madonna

  1. Though I’ve read all of Gaiman’s novels I’ve never been a huge fan of his (and anyway his best work is Sandman, which is not a novel) so the choice was an easy one – Anansi Boys demonstrates all his strengths and none of his weaknesses. It’s funny and imaginative without being twee (Coraline, The Graveyard Book), tightly plotted without being predictable (Stardust, Neverwhere). I have a soft spot for American Gods, for the sheer audacity of its sprawl, but Anansi Boys takes the same material and makes a genuinely good book out of it.

    Pratchett, though I’ve cooled on him in the last decade, is a harder question. I picked Feet of Clay – to my mind the novel that captures him at the height of his powers, and perfectly combines the setting of Ankh-Morpork, the character of Sam Vimes and the other watchmen, and the theme of social justice seen through a fantastic lens. All of these elements would eventually go off the boil in later books, but in Feet of Clay they all work, and combine to make one of Pratchett’s most satisfying novels. But I could have just as easily picked The Wee Free Men, the most recent Pratchett novel that I’ve unreservedly loved, or The Truth, which recaptures a lot of the heydey of early Watch novels, or Wyrd Sisters, my first Discworld love, or Small Gods, which is often, to its detriment, treated like the “important” Discworld novel but is still a surprisingly thoughtful handling of religion, or The Carpet People, which is brief and silly but almost perfectly-formed. It’s easy to forget, given how milquetoast a lot of his stuff is today, how much Pratchett has done and how original and important a lot of it was when he was doing it – thanks for reminding me.

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